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Much remains to be done, but humans will find a way to do the necessary to preserve life where we can.

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A reproduction of the statue Tenacious Life (Tenax Vitae) by Rinaldo Carnielo, destroyed by the Nazis in World War II (Photo: Onedio.com)

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We are facing, today, the world’s worst pandemic for a century, with millions of people dead, and more millions yet fated to die. What is our nemesis? A virus, a substance our wise men tell us, is not alive. I cannot get my head around the concept that something which has a drive to replicate itself, which needs living tissue to accomplish this, can be classed as non-living. And it even mutates! Nonetheless it is depriving living creatures, like humans, of life. And often, it seems to do this by turning our own defenses against it, as a means to deprive us of our capacity to survive. It seems more effective in this task precisely among those of us who have most successfully resisted the ravages of time, the elderly.

This idea of being old is becoming more and more controversial. There are now those among us that are resisting the idea that aging is solely a natural phenomenon, maintaining that it is more like a disease. On top of that we have seen experiments which have claimed that age can be rolled back in a very substantial way. Persons that have been subjected to long periods in a hyperbaric oxygen chamber have had the telomeres in their DNA grown by twenty per cent. The theory is that our telomeres shorten with age, and as they do, we eventually die. Growing them, it is thought, is then a way of extending life. Why not?

What has been most remarkable, indeed, in our latest episode of threats to life on our planet, is the creativity of humans in finding ways to counter the threats to human existence on this planet. We know that developing vaccines to meet the dangers to life posed by disease have taken decades in the past. This time, the human family around the world has rallied to the cause and found solutions in a matter of months. It will likely take longer to roll out the answer to billions of the globe’s inhabitants than it has taken to arrive at solutions.

This is just a small example of how the living things in nature tenaciously cling to life, finding ways to survive in one way or another to the threats to their existence.

Humanity, as we know it, we are told*, appeared on earth some two hundred and fifty thousand years ago. The opposed thumb, and a mutation in our brains that enabled us to tell stories permitted a new departure. We climbed down out of the trees and rallied together in larger groups to build things and create societies.

We evolved rules we could generally subscribe to that encouraged living together more peaceably. We have a history of our experiences, well known, tortuously building nations, states, around our larger families, and international organizations around our common humanity. We have an imperative need of these as our numbers and our acquisitive natures place our very existence on this planet in danger.

Consequent on our competitiveness for the material blessings of the earth, water and skies, or, alternatively,  our urge to achieve the hegemony of our particular ideas about man, God, or destiny, our knowledge-workers have, among all their creative works, devised the power for humanity to self-destruct. And the effluent derivative of our numbers is making our planet uninhabitable.

These things call for a meeting of minds only possible through the creation of international fora where we can consider our alternatives and cooler heads can prevail. Our fate hangs in the balance.

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Last evening, my Bride and I seated ourselves on a bench overlooking the sea off the western coast of Canada. Darkness was falling early on this winter evening and the many freighters in harbor showed their sparkling navigation lights. Walkers and joggers passed in a continuous stream, as did parents with their infants, some so bundled up against the chill that they could hardly stumble along the walkway.

Peace reigned supreme.  We were happy and grateful to be there, together and alive, dutifully wearing our masks and social distancing. We know there are many around us feeling and facing tragedy, loved ones in dire straits. And things are so much worse where life is less organized. Our joy is tempered by this reality, but it doesn’t lessen the warmth of our hugs.

Against the grim reality of the world scene, we delight in the wonders present in the world we inhabit.

This past week we have talked to the visible faces of our near and dear, those in the neighborhood, those not too far away, and those thousands of miles away. That is not the same as touching, but it is a consolation, and a tribute to human study, wisdom and creativity. The technical heights we have reached, are reaching, speak to the genius of the human animal. Our capacity to respond so quickly to the dire threat we are facing, thousands dying each day around the world, infected by the breath we breathe in and out, is a testimony to the tenacity with which we humans cling to life. Much remains to be done, but humans will find a way to do the necessary to preserve life where we can.

Imagine, in spite of these days of tragedy, these days of human frailty and weakness, even evil, what wonders the future will bring!

*Sapiens, A Brief History Of Humankind,Y. N. Harari, McClelland and Stewart, 2011.

Max Roytenberg is an author, poet and blogger, with many published articles in Jewish periodicals in Dublin, New York, Winnipeg and Vancouver. After a career as an Economist and Executive in the Food Industry, in Canada and abroad, he writes, and lives with his Bride, in Vancouver. He has children and grandchildren in the US, Canada, China and Israel. His last book, “Hero In My Own Eyes”, is available through major booksellers and on Amazon.

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Happy reading!

Thank you for choosing TheJ.Ca as your source for Canadian Jewish News.

We do news differently!

Our positioning as a Zionist News Media platform sets us apart from the rest. While other Canadian Jewish media are advocating increasingly biased progressive political and social agendas, TheJ.Ca is providing more and more readers with a welcome alternative and an ideological home.

We revealed the incursion of anti-Israel progressive elements such as IfNotNow into our communities. We have exposed the distorted hateful agenda of the “progressive” left political radicals who brought Linda Sarsour to our cities, and we were first to report on many disturbing incidents of Nazi-based hate towards Jews across Canada.

But we can’t do it alone. We need your HELP!

Our ability to thrive and grow in 2020 and beyond depends on the generosity of committed readers and supporters like you.

Monthly support is a great way to help us sustain our operations. We greatly appreciate any contributions you can make to support Jewish Journalism.

We thank you for your ongoing support.

Happy reading!

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